NJ GOP senators urge Murphy to scrap leftover vaxx, test mandates
TRENTON — A letter sent to Gov. Phil Murphy by members of the state Senate Republican caucus calls on the Democratic governor to cancel the COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirements that remain for New Jersey's public and private sector workers two months after the expiration of the state's public health emergency, even as the daily coronavirus case count rose Thursday to its highest level since early February.
The text of the letter, dated Thursday, calls the leftover mandates "burdensome, unnecessary, and illogical," including the order that workers in healthcare and congregate settings be not only vaccinated against COVID but receive booster doses as well.
The Republican senators said a study of 130,000 patients out of Yale University "did not detect an additional benefit of receiving a third booster dose" in the face of the omicron variant of the virus that took hold in New Jersey in December, and whose subvariants are now driving the latest case increases.
"A far greater threat," according to the letter, are staffing shortages caused by the governor's requirements, rather than unvaccinated employees.
Given recent CDC data indicating at least 60% of the United States population, including 75% of U.S. children, have already been infected with the coronavirus, the letter said, a weekly testing requirement for unvaccinated school teachers and other staff such as bus drivers is "inconsistent," and its repeal would be unlikely to lead to an outbreak.
Senators also questioned the logic of the Murphy administration's vaccine and booster stipulations for corrections officers and other prison workers, but not for inmates.
The letter urges Murphy to lift the remaining mandates immediately.
Murphy's office had not issued a response as of midway through Thursday afternoon.